Introduced in 2018, APM Terminals Way of Working (WoW) is our business system that drives us to continuously improve our business performance by developing our people, whilst keeping them safe and focused on delivering value to our customers. Our Business System is based on proven lean methods and driven by continuous improvement.
Lean is a system where a variety of Lean tools and our mindset come together as a powerful driver to increase safety, customer satisfaction and enable personal & professional development.
By involving ‘every brain and heart in the game, we have been able to get all hands on deck and systematically pull all our employees into the program– especially our frontline workforce. This is where the magic happens.
Built around four connected principles
We have formalised how we continuously improve to create more value for our customers and improve our Way of Working itself. We do this through a Kaizen Ecosystem.
This involves a combination of Kaizen Events. These involve everyone, from managers to floor staff, every day and every location to continuously review and improve processes. For more clearly defined issues that require a more radical step change an event may involve a group of employees intensively for a number of days.
The outcomes provide value to everyone in the organization and to our customers. Kaizen Events are directly linked to our company strategy and as such, a critical enabler to success.
Every colleague is encouraged to always be thinking of new ways to improve their performance. Then, this loop repeats, further refining what we do and how we do it. The elements and methods that comprise Way of Working are used across terminals globally, creating a common language and one way of working.
We have developed, upskilled and coached thousands of employees to give and be the best version of themselves every day. Our people are experts in their jobs, and we empower them to look out for improvement opportunities to make their jobs safer and better.
We create an engaging workplace that builds on the creativity, passion and problem-solving capabilities of our people. And above all, we encourage them to know if, despite all best efforts they fail, to use these learnings to keep improving.
The result is that EVERYONE across our organisation is continually looking for areas of 'waste'. Being skilled in identifying waste is becoming increasingly important on our journey to become the World´s Best Terminal Company. In lean, we know 8 types of waste (muda): Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overprocessing, Overproduction, Defects and (unused) Skills. Our employees identify these by asking themselves questions such as:
- Are we processing too much or too soon?
- Are keeping more parts and components on the workstation than the minimum to get the job done?
- Are we reducing moves that do not directly add value to a minimum?
- Why did equipment break down?
- Are operators waiting for the next step in the process?
- How would our customers see value in this process?
Without standards in place, performance levels can vary and customer's aren't guaranteed a consistent high level of service. Our Way of Working sharpens our customer focus, enabling an ever-high level of performance for our customers worldwide.
To ensure that all our people follow processes consistently, we are standardizing how they do their jobs and ensuring that they faithfully adhere to these standards. We accelerate standardization through a hands-on training program called Training Within Industry (TWI).
Standards are core to APM Terminal´s Safer, Better, Bigger Strategy. They enable us to get safer and better because our processes are carried out safely, consistently and in the best way possible every time. Standards are necessary as without standards, there cannot be improvements. And without improvements, we will not become the World´s Best Terminal Company.
Our focus on standards takes a number of proven industry forms, including:
- 5S: Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain
- Standard Work: Establish, communicate, maintain, and improve workplace standards
- Visual Management based on SQDC (Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost)
- Kaizen: employees at all levels of a company work together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements.
Standards create uniform processes across the organization and allows everyone to use these standards as a starting point for future improvement at any one of our terminals around the world.
Performance is measured against four customer-facing priorities: Safety, Quality, Delivery and Cost - Safety comes first (always!), followed by Quality and Delivery (seen from the customer) and then Cost.
We use clear visualisations to track improvement projects against these criteria, involving all employees. In some instances it can add value to track progress multiple times per day.
Without standards in place, performance levels can vary. Way of Working sharpens our customer focus, enabling an ever-high level of performance for our customers worldwide.
Our Way of Working has been adopted across the company, from procurement to crane operators and stevedores to customer service.
It results in thousands of small changes, which together can have a major impact.
Improvements could involve something as simple as tidying a store room, improving the layout and adding clear signage to provide quicker access and help employees locate what they need.
Or returning RTGs to a dedicated space at the end of a shift so that they're easier to find and closer to the shift change.
We don't want to give away all our secrets, but here are a few of the results from our Way of Working:
- Faster Truck Turn Times
- Shorter Dwell Times
- Improved equipment reliability
- Greater crane efficiency
- Faster shift changes
- Shorter vessel idle times
- Reduced power consumption
- Improved recycling
- Less systems downtime
- Faster issue resolution
- Reduced waste
- Faster customs clearance
Achievements are shared across our terminals, inspiring others to take a deep dive (Kaizen) into these areas.